International Desk: At least 18 students were killed after a massive fire broke out at a coaching centre in Gujarat's Surat on Friday afternoon.
Videos posted by witnesses on social media showed several students jumping out of windows on the top floor of the four-storey building to escape the blaze.
Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17. Disturbing visuals showed people on the pavement asking the students to jump off the burning building, hoping to catch them. "Some of these students are critical but the crowd managed to save their lives," Darshana Jardosh, the parliamentarian from Surat, told NDTV.
The fire, which broke out at around 3:30 pm, engulfed the top two floors of the commercial building called Takshashila Arcade in the Sarthana area of Surat, officials said. Huge plumes of smoke covered the area. Local residents were seen helping in the rescue operation.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. The owners of the building are on the run, police officials said.
A fire official said 19 fire engines were sent in to control the fire.
"Students on fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been rescued and sent to hospital. The operation to douse the fire is on," the fire official said. _Agencies
risingbd/Dhaka/May 24, 2019/AKA